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New Qualifying Format Gives SMP Ferrari Pole

Davide Rigon, Mikhail Aleshin and Miguel Molina take pole as new quali format debuts…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

SMP Racing has scored pole position in the first run of the new qualifying format for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza on Sunday morning.

Davide Rigon, Mikhail Aleshin and Miguel Molina combined to set an average lap time of 1:48.311 in their No. 72 AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3.

The new system, which requires all drivers to set a time and the grid to be decided based on the average of each drivers’ fastest lap, produced several surprising results with two Silver Cup entries within the top four.

Emil Frey Jaguar Racing will start from second with its G3 Jaguar after posting an average time just 0.008 seconds down, while Reiter Young Stars’ Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX will line up fourt.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT scored third position with its No. 1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 after Dries Vanthoor set the fastest time of the opening qualifying session.

The No. 43 Strakka Racing and No. 4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3s will start from the third row, while R-Motorsport’s highest-placed Aston Martin Vantage GT3 qualified seventh.

Kessel Racing secured the Pro-Am Cup pole from 23rd overall with its No. 11 Ferrari driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi and Michael Broniszewski while Am Cup honors went the way of AKKA ASP’s Eric Debard, Fabien Barthez and Philippe Giauque.

Salih Yoluc crashed the Ram Racing Mercedes at the final chicane during the second session, bringing out the red flag for several minutes.

It is unclear whether the car will be able to make the start of the race but the damage sustained appeared to be rather heavy.

The three-hour race will get underway at 3 p.m. local time and will be streamed live on the series’ website and GT World YouTube channel.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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